The Cerebral Vortex

The questions of the day are:

1. What is this stuff (< ---I almost used an expletive here) called white chocolate? 2. Is it really chocolate in the true sense of the definition of chocolate? Let’s go back way back to the birth of chocolate…Central Mexico sometime during the 15th Century.

An Aztec Ritual (not chocolate-related. It would suck if it was.)

Chocolate originated thousands of years ago in the Aztec civilization. It is made from the Theobroma (Greek for “food of the Gods”) cacao tree. The Aztecs, Toltecs, and Mayans, brewed a stimulating drink called Xocoatl, which was brewed from cocoa beans, maize (Indian corn) and water. This concoction was sacred and was associated with fertility and wisdom.
“The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.” Montezuma – Aztec Emperor (1480-1520)

That’s a far cry from your Bosco, Ovaltine, or Nestle’s Quik.

Little did we know that during lunch hour in grade school we were all becoming wiser and all of the girls were becoming more fecund. Anyway, this original, ancient chocolate formulation was different (besides containing cocoa beans) from the chocolate we know and love today. The current formulation, which is mixed with milk, cocoa powder and cocoa butter, came about in 1876. Chocolate is believed to trigger many psychological and physiological reactions. I think that some of the reported effects are fueled by the folklore and mythology surrounding chocolate. I believe that some of the romanticism about the powers of chocolate contribute to a kind of placebo effect, but that’s an entirely different discussion.

True chocolate contains substances such as phenylethylamine, theobromine, anandamide and tryptophan. These substances trigger mood enhancing chemicals in the brain to reportedly create feelings of giddiness, attraction, euphoria and excitement. What is this atrocity called “white chocolate”? White chocolate is made the same way as milk chocolate and dark chocolate -- the difference is the ingredients. White chocolate does not contain chocolate liquor, the defining ingredient of real chocolate. White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, milk, sugar and vanilla…

NO CHOCOLATE LIQUOR = CHOCOLATE IMPOSTOR

The Bottom Line:

Because white chocolate has no cocoa solids from the chocolate liquor, the FDA doesn't classify it as chocolate. Below is a quote from the FDA website concerning white chocolate:

“A product labeled as ``white chocolate'' contains the term ``chocolate,'' an alternative nomenclature for chocolate liquor that indicates the presence of cacao-derived ingredients. All existing chocolate standards include the cacao-derived ingredient chocolate liquor, which contains both the nonfat and the fat components of the cacao nibs. In contrast, the cacao-derived ingredient contained in products that consumers have come to know as ``white chocolate'' is cacao fat (i.e., cocoa butter), not chocolate liquor. Because the term ``chocolate'' implies that the product contains cacao-derived ingredients similar to those in standardized chocolate products, in the absence of a standard of identity or TMP, the product described in the proposed standard could not use the term ``chocolate'' on its labeling. Specifically, a product labeled ``white chocolate'' would purport to be chocolate, but it would not comply with the current food standards for cacao products in part 163. Therefore, the product would be misbranded under section 403(g) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act) (21 U.S.C. 343 (g)).”

White chocolate is technically (and in reality) a white candy confection. All of the mystical effects attributed to the consumption of real chocolate containing chocolate liquor are not realized when consuming white chocolate. The only euphoria you'll feel from eating large quantities of white chocolate, is the euphoria of growing your thighs and ass. It is believed that eating 2 ounces (50 grams) a day of plain chocolate with a minimum content of 70% chocolate solids can be beneficial to health, providing protection against heart disease, high blood pressure, and many other health hazards as well as essential trace elements and nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium, and vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E and it's a lot tastier than vitamin pills. A 1 1/2-ounce square of chocolate may have as many cancer-fighting antioxidants as a five-ounce glass of red wine (1).

So the next time someone asks if you like white chocolate, you should reply:

“No, but I heard that Leprechauns love to feed their pet unicorns white chocolate because they both don’t f@#% exist!”

Matt “Real Chocolate” Largo

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